In a globalized and constantly evolving world, software must remain in constant motion to address the needs of users. No one knows this better than Microsoft, who continuously develop and apply new technologies to ensure improvements are made to enrich the lives of their customers. We see endless new technologies being developed by Microsoft, those of which are often integrated with existing software ecosystems such as Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. But sometimes it’s not enough to simply improve features, sometimes features reach the top of their development and are no longer relevant or optimal for the end-user. It’s at this stage that Microsoft deprecates features because they become completely disused, not needed anymore or incompatible with new features or technologies. In some instances, it’s just time to let old developments go and start a new path to incorporate and build new features that provide better functionality.
It’s difficult even for experts to define every Dynamics 365 characteristic that will be deprecated, since this can jump from minor details to a complete visual change in the system. Microsoft recently held a virtual conference where they gave us a taste of the new features and shared the roadmap. Artificial intelligence is set to take over much of the system for Customer Engagement, resulting in many of the old manual functions getting set aside and deprecated.
A message that Microsoft communicated very clearly in the Wave 2 release is that old features will only be supported until 2020. The most critical change highlighted is the deprecation of the legacy web client. Customers must transition to the new Unified User Interface before October 2020. This is critical to emphasize because it’s highly important to prepare your organization for a migration, as it’s not just as simple as a few visual adjustments! You can find out more about this huge change in our article: Unified Interface for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement: Top 5 Questions Answered.
Image: Legacy Web Client
Image: New Unified User Interface
It’s extremely important for customers to contact their consultant to ensure they analyze the current system they have in place. It’s critical to be prepared for all the changes ahead and know how your system should be updated to ensure you don’t miss out on all the new benefits that Microsoft brings with this wave. An analysis is also essential to help you avoid problems with the system if you’re using any of the features that will be deprecated.
Below is a list of some of the most pertinent features that will be deprecated with the October Wave 2 release:
1. Task flows: Deprecated and will be removed by October 1st, 2020. This will be replaced by the immersive experience for business process flows that is planned for release.
2. Process Dialogs: Deprecated and will be removed by Oct 1st, 2020. It’s to be confirmed, but Microsoft have suggested replacements by BPF or Canvas Apps.
3. Dynamics 365 for Blackberry: Deprecated in December 2018. This was removed from the iOS App Store on October 31, 2019. Users that have it will need to migrate to Dynamics 365 for phones.
4. Contracts, Contract Line Items, and Contract Templates entities: Deprecated. This will be removed in a future major release of Dynamics 365; we believe most likely April. This functionality has been replaced by entitlements in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.
5. Standard SLAs in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service: Deprecated. Standard service level agreements (SLA Type field is set to Standard) are deprecated and will be removed in a future major release of Dynamics 365. Standard SLAs are replaced by enhanced SLAs.
6. Relationship Roles: Deprecated. Relationship Roles are deprecated and will be removed in a future major release of Dynamics 365. This feature has been replaced by Connection Roles.
7. Mail Merge: Deprecated. In Dynamics CRM 2016 (version 8.0), Microsoft introduced server-side document generation using Word and Excel templates. You can use these templates to provide standardized documents or customized data analysis for your organization. Mail merge from previous versions is deprecated. This includes the mail-merge Word add-in, as well as mail-merge templates.
8. Ready-to-use business processes available through Add Ready to Use Business Processes setting: Deprecated. This will be removed in a future major release of Dynamics 365. You can find ready-to-use business processes on Microsoft AppSource.
9. Legacy process-related attributes in entities: Deprecated. The legacy process-related attributes (such as ProcessId, StageId, and TraversedPath) on entities enabled for business process flows are now deprecated. The SetProcess action for business process flows is also deprecated. Manipulating these legacy process-related attributes for target entity records does not guarantee consistency of the business process flow state and is not a supported scenario. The recommended way is to use the attributes of the business process flow entity
In addition to this list of deprecations, there is also a long list of Client APIs that are deprecated. This list can be found on Microsoft’s website.